It has been a few months since we last heard anything significant from Square Enix about Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, but with the game’s 18 March release coming up shortly, there is still some convincing to do to get fans of the roleplaying franchise on board. Thankfully, in our latest interview with Square Enix, Team Ninja, and Koei Tecmo, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is looking to go big and hopefully not home.
Gracing us with their presence once more were director Daisuke Inoue and producer Jin Fujiwara from Square Enix and Koei Tecmo’s Fumihiko Yasuda, and just like this alliance of creative talent, the Warriors of Light in Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin are more than just about Jack Garland,
In fact, aside from some of the party members that have been revealed, more are apparently on the way to join the crew in the fight against Chaos. How they figure into the story remains a mystery, with Inoue keen to maintain that intrigue, but needless to say, the five main protagonists will figure heavily in the events of this retelling of a classic.
“We wanted to make sure that there’s a good amount of story, but still be exhilarating as an action game,” said Fujiwara. “And so, we were thinking about how do we depict this journey of Jack Garland becoming the villain and approached the story and tried to bring originality to it.”
This obviously extends beyond the narrative portion of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, with combat a particular area where they will shine as well. In exploring the setup of a party going up against the enemy, the team needed to find a balance so as not to make the game too easy or hard, and this was a big challenge.
“We’ve conducted two different user testing and received feedback from players on how this sort of system plays out. We use a system called resonance system where the player character sort of interacts with the NPCs and the AI with it, so that it kind of balances out so that the AI is not too strong. But it also is balanced enough that you don’t lose the interactivity,” Inoue shared.
If you did not already know, players would only be able to take control of Garland only, albeit with the various jobs to choose from, during the main story. However, if you are keen on that direction, the team is also working on a planned multiplayer mode, but details will only come in the later months.
Of course, the most obvious change to the Final Fantasy formula comes in the form of the increased focus on action, and with that comes a double-edged sword. How does Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin cater to the old-school RPG fans, while making sure the barriers of entry remain accessible for newcomers to the action genre?
Having delivered the likes of Nioh and its impressive sequel, having both Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja as part of the creative process definitely helps, but it is the coming together of old favourites like the aforementioned job system that makes the magic work.
“With Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, it is still Final Fantasy. So we do have the job system, and we also incorporate a party system with your NPCs as well. And at the same time, we do want to offer a battle that is challenging, that gives a sense of accomplishment if you beat the boss,” the trio explained.
“We encourage people to try it out and then just do some trial and error, and if it still feels It’s too difficult, there is the story mode difficulty as well. You’d have to be very strategic about which jobs you use going into the battle, making use of the RPG elements of the game”
The developers did reveal that if players are proficient enough, they could actually get past the entire game with one single job, even if bosses will require more tact than just brute force. Yet, if you are a glutton for punishment, finishing the game once will unlock an additional difficulty after hard mode, so you will have that to look forward to as well.
As parting words of advice, Fujiwara recommends that players not just try out the jobs, but also hunt down as much of the equipment and gear available in Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin. Not only is this going to make you more powerful, but also opens the way to enjoying the job system that has been implemented.
While we are still about two months away from launch, the cautious optimism regarding this latest entry in the Final Fantasy family has given way to more pleasant anticipation as we begin to peel back the layers. It remains to be seen just how the majority of fans feel about this departure from franchise staples, but if you can give it a shot, there is every hope that Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin will surprise you in the best of ways.